Cassier Highway Stop

Living like Turtles!
or

"What's it really like living in the Pursuit for months?"


One of our friends wrote,

And so for those who are interested, we'll take a little break from our travels and try to answer some of these questions, and also try to describe what's it like living in a RV or motorhome for months and months.


Some Basic Lifestyle Changes

When we worked at Cape Hatteras for six months, "home" was still Tewksbury and we were just "away from home" for a while. Then after we moved into our townhouse in Bedminster and while we were in Mesa Verde, we still thought of "home" as our townhouse, and the Pursuit as just our temporary home in Mesa Verde. But by now we have lived in the Pursuit longer than we have lived in Bedminster, and it's really beginning to feel a lot like home----although like a turtle, it's a home that's moving with us!

"Downsizing" from our Tewksbury home to our Bedminster townhouse took a lot of work, and it forced us to face the fact that we had much too much "stuff" and that we had a lot of things we never used and/or didn't really need. We also realized we had a lot of stuff that wouldn't mean anything to anybody after we died. And so we were pretty ruthless! We moved to Bedminster only what we felt we needed, we took some things to the lakehouse and threw away some of the really junky stuff that we had there, we gave to Becky, Brian, and other friends and family anything they wanted, we gave to groups like NORWESCAP and the Visiting Nurse Association's Rummage Sale everything they wanted or could sell (and even they rejected some of our stuff!). And after all that, we still ended up with quite a few loads for the Bedminster "transfer station" and the Sussex County dump.

As we prepared for this trip, we also had to make lots of decisions about what we really needed. And based on our experiences living in the Pursuit during the last two summers, we decided we really didn't need to bring very much!

From talking with people who are called "full timers"---namely, people who have sold their homes and live all year long in their fifth wheels or motorhomes---and from our own experiences to date, it's just amazing how little we need. And even more amazing has been how little we miss!

Living as we do simply means we wear the same clothes more often, we don't have as many "toys" (even though we do have two TV's, a DVD and VCR recorder, a very good radio/CD player and two computers---and occasional access to the internet and cable TV), and we sometimes wish we had brought an umbrella (although in Alaska, umbrellas are uncool.....so maybe it's OK we only have raincoats!)

Nevertheless, because we had to work so hard to get rid of things, and because we find we can live so easily without a lot of stuff, and because the Pursuit is limited in space.....we also find that we simply aren't tempted to buy "things". If we don't really need something, and if we haven't felt that way at least a few times, we simply don't buy anything new.

In some ways, it's a different way of living...a life more like turtles carrying their homes around with them all the time...but so far, it's been OK. In fact, it's been great! And for us, "smaller has been better" and it's really been OK to have less, live with less, and need less! (And fortunately, we both feel that way, or this new lifestyle might not be working very well!)


How do you get your mail and pay your bills?

Before we left, we worked hard to stop as much junk mail as possible, to let all our favorite charities know we didn't want any newsletters other than electronic newsletters and that we didn't want more "gimme letters" or solicitations, and to reduce all our mail in any way possible. We also stopped most of our magazine subscriptions or had the magazines sent to Brian directly or to other friends or family. Having done that, the rest of our remaining mail is being forwarded to Brian. We checks it, he's deposited a few checks for us, and he keeps an eye out for anything that might have to be forwarded to us. So far, we've only had one "mail drop" where we simply had him send us our mail to "Schundlers, General Delivery, Mesa Verde, Colorado." When we arrived in Mesa Verde, we went to the post office and picked it up (in fact, this is how Brian could get mail when he hiked the Appalchian Trail.).

Meanwhile, our regular incoming checks are direct deposited into our checking account, and most of our bills are paid through automatic direct debit from our checking account. For instance, our monthly condominium association bill, our monthly health insurance bills, our utility bills, etc are all taken out of our checking account automatically. And our credit cards bills aren't direct debited, but we are emailed when the statements come out, and then pay them online.

Essentially the internet makes extended traveling possible. We can check our bills, statements, and account balances, and we can transfer money from various accounts when necessary. We've also set it up so that Bruce can do this for his sister who often needs help, and for whatever needs to be done for the Schundler family's remaining limited partnership. Through FedEX and the internet, our Tewksbury home was sold and the closing occurred while we were in Colorado, and we've negotiated and signed new leases for the family's partnership easily while traveling.

Since most towns aren't as up-to-date as our credit card companies and utilities, we do have to remember to mail in our property taxes every quarter. And if we don't have the new property tax bills with us because they came out after we left New Jersey, we just call the tax collector, find out how much we have to send, and send a check. Our federal taxes we did while in Georgia with Turbo Tax, our refund was direct deposited into our checking account, and our recent "economic stimulus" check also was direct deposited.

Consequently, eventhough we are moving and traveling and living in a motorhome, we are in practical ways just as "connected" as if we were living in the townhouse in Bedminster!


Where do you do laundry?

That one's easy. In public laundries. Most larger commercial campgrounds and national park service campgrounds have washers and dryers. And so for between $5.00 and $12.00, we can easily do our laundry when necessary.


living room/dining room
Our Living Room and Dining Area
kitchen
The Kitchen
bedroom
The Bedroom and "Wardrobe"

Do you ever run out of toilet paper in the canyons?

No. And not in the Pursuit, either!

Living in the Pursuit isn't really camping---it's living in a very mobile home. We have a full bathroom with a toilet that flushes, a separate shower in which we both can stand (not at the same time, however), and a separate sink.

We also have a refrigerator that works on both propane and electricity---so when we have an electrical hook-up it automatically runs on electricity. With no electrical hook-up, it automatically shifts to propane. Similarly, our 6 gallon hot water heater works the same way---running on electricity when it's available, and on propane when it's not. We have a propane stove and oven and a microwave, a regular kitchen sink and cabinets, two furnaces for heat within the motor home, and two air conditioners.

We have four fairly good size tanks under the "house"--a 75 gallon gas tank, a 75 gallon fresh water tank, a 60 gallon gray water tank, and a 45 gallon "black" tank for the toilet. We also have two extra deep cycle batteries and a fairly good size generator. Consequently, we can "dry camp" in a campsite or in an off the road location for up to four to five days with no hookups and still be living very normal lives with running water, flush toilets, heat, and lights, etc.

All of which is to say, we aren't really "roughing it", we aren't relying on outhouses every night or squatting in the canyons, and we still use toilet paper!


pursuit floor plan


If you want to see the brochure on our 2006 Georgie Boy Pursuit (3500 DS) and/or see read all about "our home", here is the brochure: The 2006 Pursuit


And most of all ( and please donít be offended) do you ever get tired of each other day after day in such close quarters?


It is interesting that our friends and new acquaintences often ask two questions: first, what's it like to work as National Park Rangers? and second, what's it like living together in a motorhome all the time?

Living in a motorhome wouldn't be for everybody. Both partners have to enjoy traveling, they have to want to go to most of the same places and at the same pace, and they have to share a sense of how much they want to spend for living, touring, and traveling. Fortunately, we seem to agree most of the time....and living together in such close quarters hasn't been a problem!

Of course, our first summer in Cape Hatteras was a good testing ground for this trip. That summer we lived together, we worked on the same lighthouse team everyday, and we often were assigned to "rove" and hike the beaches together. In other words, we not only lived together, we were working side by side almost every day. And it worked, and it continues to work.

Two people living in a motorhome do have to agree on whether to be basically neat or sloppy. Felix and Oscar (of the Odd Couple ) would not do well living in the Pursuit! Fortunately, we both try to be more or less on the neat side, and so life is easier. And with so little to clean and maintain, it's really easy! And the secret is like living on a boat....everything gets stowed away when we are driving, and everything is more or less put away most of the time.


Does Sara ever go running into the desert?

No.

But poor Oliver does get a little stir crazy sometimes. He spends a lot of time either in the motorhome or in the car. Unfortunately, he can't go on tours, he's not allowed on most national park trails, and he can't go with us to the museums and other attractions. And so he spends a lot of time just waiting for us.

Consequently, there are times when we take him for a walk when he doesn't want to get back into the Pursuit, when he sits down or lies down and refuses to go, and when he just seems like he's had it being confined within the four walls of the Pursuit or Subaru!

Of course, being Oliver, all he really wants to do is spend time with us....and so as soon as he realizes we are all going into the Pursuit or car, he gets up and joins us!


Where do you park at night? What kind of campgrounds are there??

Generally speaking, there are three options for RV'ers:

Commerical campgrounds usually have hookups for water, electrical, and sewer---and many have cable TV lines and wi fi capability. Although we have a 75 gallon water tank "on board", if we have a water connection we'll use the campground's water. Electrical service comes in 15, 30, and/or 50 amp service. With 15 amp service we can recharge our batteries (computers, phones, cameras, etc), have brighter lights and use our TV's and DVD&VCR, and also run one heating appliance (heater, hair dryer, microwave, etc). With 30 and 50 amp service, we can run two or more appliances. And since we have "black and gray" tanks for our sewarge and waste water, and since they work best (e.g. clean out best) if they aren't emptied unless they are fairly full, we'll use the sewer hookups some of the time, but not always. Usually commercial campgrounds charge between $21/night to as much as $40/night (and some so called RV resorts can cost much more).

National, state, and Provincial Park campgrounds are usually more basic. They often have no hookups,but are located in nice places. They also have dumpsters and outhouses...and sometimes other facilities like lakes, picnic areas and shelters, etc. There are public campgrounds that have more. At Jasper NP in Canada and Zion NP in Utah, for instance, had basic electrical hookups, and some even will have electrical and water. Public sites seldom have sewer hook-ups at each site, but usualy they have a "dump station" somewhere in the park. Compared to commercial campgrounds, national and state park campgrounds usually are less expensive---costing anywhere from $10/night to $20/night.

Finally, there are the rest stops and what in Canada and Alaska are called pull-outs and/or turn-outs. These are free, they offer no services, but especially in Canada and Alaska they are very acceptable and used often. For instance, in the top picture, we spent the night along side of a beautiful lake along the Cassier Highway. There were three others with us, and as you can see, it was just a very pretty place to stay (and on that particular night, the only option for many miles.)

pursuit camping
The Pursuit in a typical commerical campground (Valdez)
pursuit camping
The Pursuit at a typical Provincial Park campground
pursuit camping
The Pursuit at a another Provincial Park campground

pursuit camping
The Pursuit at a "turn-out" (e.g. rest stop)
along the Cassier Highway

One last note, for both the Pursuit and our old faithful Subaru, this has been quite a trip. Most of the time, the Pursuit has been towing the Subaru,and since during most of our trip we have been going either up a moutain, down a moutain, or driving somewhere between two mountains, the poor Pursuit has had a good workout this summer. And when we disconnect the Subaru for small day trips, the day trips often have been driving on even steeper grades and on unpaved roads and/or rocky right-of-ways. In the picture below, for instance, we were driving up a 23 mile road that climbs to a viewpoint overlooking Salmon Glacier outside Hyder, Alaska. The road was unpaved, muddy in spots, and precarious at others, and the final views looking down on the glacier from above were just amazing. And our good old faithful Subaru Forrester ---with over 235,000 miles on it ---got us there and as usual it did very well!

pursuit camping
The Pursuit climbing moutains
Subaru
Our Subaru climbing moutains


Bruce and Sara--Travels in 2008 (Opening Page)

Jan to April 2008---The SAM Shortline in Cordele, GA

April 1st to April 13, 2008---Driving from GA to Big Bend NP, TX

April 14 to April 23, 2008---Driving from Carlsbad Caverns NP to Mesa Verde NP

April 24 to May 4, 2008---Snow in Yellowstone, a Change in Plans, and a Detour to Zion NP

May 4 to May 11, 2008---From Zion NP to Salt Lake City and Glacier, and then to Canada

May 12 to May 16, 2008---Kootenay, Banff, Yoho and Jasper National Parks Yoho)

May 16 to May 25, 2008---The Alaskan Highway---From Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Skagway, Alaska

May 25 to June 7, 2008---Southeast Alaska--Skagway, Sitka, Juneau, and Haines

June 8 to June 21, 2008---Haines Junction, Fairbanks, and Denali

June 22 to July 4, 2008---The Kenai Peninsula: Portgage, Seward, and Homer

July 5 to July 19, 2008---Whittier, Anchorage, Palmer, Valdez Prince William Sound and Wrangell-St. Elias NP

July 23 to July 28, 2008---Driving Down the Cassier Highay: Steward and Hyder

July 29 to August 14, 2008---Driving Home after 13,600 Miles



If you want to write to or contact Bruce and Sara, their email addresses are: bruce@schundler.net and/or sara@schundler.net

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Note: If you have any difficulty downloading or reading these pages, please let me know. Apparenty on some screens, some the the text was running over onto the pictures, and so I have changed the pages in the hope of avoiding this. Please let me know if you have any problems!
bruce@schundler.net